1. Introduction

Film Hub Midlands supports film exhibitors to reach audiences with independent, British and international film.

As part of the BFI’s UK wide Film Audience Network (FAN) our vision is to build a wider, more diverse cinema audience with a richer appreciation of British and international film. 

FAN’s aims are twofold:

  • to develop a larger, more diverse, confident and sustainable audience for a wider range of independent British and international film - with a primary focus on the collective viewing experience
  • to create a stronger, more connected and confident sector for the distribution and exhibition of independent British and international film.

2. About the Film Exhibition Fund

The focus of the Film Exhibition Fund is to continue to reboot the independent film exhibition sector and aid the recovery of cultural organisations across the Midlands. It will support exhibitors to resume audience development activity in line with FAN objectives, programme British, independent and international film, and deliver screenings.

The fund will support activity taking place from October 2021 - March 2022. Support of up to £10,000 is available, and the fund is open to the entire range of members of Film Hub Midlands. Support can cover programming, marketing, audience development, and associated screening costs.

Whilst audiences are at the heart of everything FAN does, the sector’s ability to reach those audiences in a collective setting is entirely dependent on the sustainability of the cinemas, festivals, community venues and other organisations that make up the Film Audience Network. In turn, online activity will only be considered for support when accompanied by in-person screenings.

All proposals should respond to Film Hub Midlands’s key strategic objectives, which are outlined in the following pages. Hub Members must also be able to set out how they will address the BFI Diversity Standards.

A further key priority of the fund is to encourage film exhibitors to embed inclusion and environmental sustainability into their approach to exhibition.

Proposals must also demonstrate how they will operate safely with COVID-19 in mind, reference can be made to the UKCA's Cinemas - keeping workers and customers safe during Covid-19 Guidelines.

3. Key information at a glance:

Total amount available: £ 60,000

Financial support: up to £10,000

Applications open: Monday 2 August 2021

Applications close: Friday 3 September 2021

Financial support confirmed from: September 2021

Activity window: October 2021 - March 2022

4. Focus Areas

We ask that your application must be focussed on one or more of the key priorities for Film Hub Midlands.

You can read these key priorities on our website, including our commitment to the BFI Diversity Standards, environmental sustainability, and bullying and harassment documents. 

All applicants will be asked to demonstrate how their organisation promotes inclusivity among audiences, on screen and in the workforce. We ask that all organisations embrace the Diversity Standards, and priority will be given to organisations that do this in a clear and convincing way.

5. Who can apply?

You must be a Hub Member in order to access Film Hub Midlands funding opportunities. Our Membership includes organisations of various sizes and shapes - from community cinemas to festivals to multi-arts centres. To become a Member, fill in our Application Form. Please contact us if you are unsure whether you are a current Member.

Organisations that are currently in receipt of Film Exhibition Fund support are not eligible to apply.

6. How much can I apply for?

Members can request up to £10,000 per proposal.

We want our projects to reach as many people as possible, and we always consider the value we provide per screening and audience member. For proposals that are closer to the limit of the fund, we would anticipate ambitious and high audience impact projects. 

If your proposal is for below £2,000, we would recommend you consider applying to our Pitch Pots fund, our smaller fund where the focus is to help support a risk and try something new.

Please note that we are not able to fund 100% of activity costs. While we do not have a set percentage requirement for match funding, we expect to see box office income and other partnership support - whether in cash, volunteer time or other in-kind contributions - included in the budget.

7. Use of financial support

Each organisation will have its individual needs - however, broadly speaking, the Film Exhibition Fund can support the following costs.

Eligible expenses:

  • Film rights and print transport
  • Activity-specific staffing costs - for example curation, marketing or project management expenses
  • Venue hire and activity-specific equipment costs
  • Marketing, Advertising and PR campaigns
  • Event costs for enhanced screenings - for example speaker, talent or artists fees
  • Volunteer and evaluation expenses
  • Accessibility costs - for example creating accessible supporting materials, subtitling fees
  • Outreach and community inclusion costs - for example providing transport for isolated audiences,
  • Audience development expenses - for example young programmers’ workshops
  • Rights clearances and curation fees for screen heritage materials
  • Costs related to online activity such as web platform or hosting fees

This list is not exhaustive and other items may be considered. 

Ineligible Expenses:

All proposed spend should contribute to the activity proposed. Beyond this, there are some areas not suitable for support from The Film Exhibition Fund. These include:

  • Filmmaking costs (including workshops), support for filmmakers to develop or distribute their own work, or for programmes that exclusively engage filmmaker audiences
  • Capital costs covering building repairs, additional health and safety measures required due to Covid-19 including the purchasing of PPE.
  • Programmes entirely comprised of free events, unticketed events or screenings where audience numbers cannot be reported
  • General running costs of organisations not specifically related to the activity
  • Activity that should be covered by statutory education, including events taking place on school grounds/in school hours
  • Events not primarily focused on film exhibition
  • Activity covered by existing funding arrangements
  • Programmes that duplicate provision in the same area
  • Activity taking place in a venue not open to the public - for example members only venues
  • The set-up of new film clubs and opening of new cinema venues

8. How to apply for financial support

Application instructions are provided in the following pages. If you have particular access requirements (for example easy read documents), would like to submit your application in another way or have queries about the application process, get in touch with our team who will be happy to discuss this.

If you have access requirements that mean you need assistance when applying for support, you may be able to request financial support through the BFI Access Support Scheme. Find out more information here.

In order to apply you will be asked to submit a short proposal form and budget. The proposal form will give you the opportunity to describe your activity and how it contributes to Film Hub Midland’s priorities. If you have any questions about the fund, the submission process or would like to discuss your proposal before applying please get in touch.

 9. Assessment criteria:

Your proposal will be assessed by the Film Hub Midlands team. We will specifically look at:

  • Activity eligibility: does the proposed activity meet the priorities and timescale of the fund?
  • Audience reach: what are the audience targets, and will the planned activity deliver them? Subsidy per head will be a consideration. Whilst we appreciate projecting admissions in the current context will be difficult please provide estimates.
  • Impact: what is the cultural ambition of the proposed programme? Are relevant partnerships in place to effectively deliver the activity?
  • Organisational experience: is the organisation able to carry out the proposed activity, including delivering marketing, audience development and evaluation plans?
  • Budget: are all reasonable costs considered? Does the budget balance and are all costs eligible? Have access costs been included?
  • Legacy: what are the longer-term plans to continue to reach audiences?
  • BFI Diversity Standards: does the proposal clearly address the BFI Diversity Standards?
  • Please note that we expect this fund to be oversubscribed and may not be able to fund your activity even if it meets the criteria.  

10. Decisions and Feedback

Unsuccessful proposals

If you are unsuccessful in your proposal, you will be contacted by email. Being unsuccessful does not prevent you from accessing future Hub opportunities.

Successful proposals

If your proposal is successful, the assessment panel may discuss any required amendments and wish to see a revised plan before confirming financial support. This process can take additional time. Activity timelines will need to accommodate this.

If there are no recommendations or amendments to be made, you will be sent a confirmation email setting out the terms and conditions attached to the financial support.

These will cover payment information, crediting guidelines and monitoring and reporting requirements. All funded activity will need to survey their audiences using our standard template - please bear this in mind when planning your evaluation strategies.

11. Complaints and Appeals

The funding decision is final. Inevitably applications will be turned down and applicants may be disappointed by this result. Formal appeals against the final decision will not be considered unless the applicant has good cause to believe that the procedures for processing the application were not adhered to, or applied in such as a way as to prejudice the outcome of the application.

A copy of the Complaints and Appeals procedure can be found here.

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